National Sanctity of Human Life Day

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National Sanctity of Human Life Day is an observance declared by several U.S. Presidents who opposed abortion.


In a January 13, 1984 proclamation, President Ronald Reagan designated January 22, 1984 as the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. The date was chosen to coincide with the 11th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that first recognized the constitutionally-protected status of abortion in the United States.[1]

Reagan issued the proclamation annually thereafter, designating Sanctity of Human Life Day to be the third Sunday in January, which represents the closest Sunday to the original January 22 date. His successor, George H. W. Bush, continued the annual proclamation throughout his presidency.[2] Bush's successor, Bill Clinton, discontinued the practice throughout his eight years in office, but Bush's son and Clinton's successor, George W. Bush, resumed the proclamation, and did so every year of his presidency.


The proclamation of National Sanctity of Human Life Day has been heralded by National Right to Life as "a wonderful statement of what the pro-life movement is really all about". Reproductive freedom groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood have denounced it, saying it signals a desire to roll back the rights of women.[3]

In an amicus brief filed by the National Lawyers Association in the case of Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, National Sanctity of Human Life Day was cited as an instance of the executive branch acknowledging the theistic philosophy of the United States government.[4][2]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Gaustad and Schmidt, p. 406
  2. ^ a b c National Sanctity of Human Life Day. retrieved from on Nov 28 2012
  3. ^ "Bush Declares..."
  4. ^ NLA Brief

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